Why Myanmar? Under its military rule between 1962 and 2011, Myanmar (previously called Burma), became one of the most isolated countries in the world and one of the poorest in Asia. Decades of under-investment and civil strife resulted in the steady decay of Myanmar’s education system. Teachers’ salaries and training declined, school buildings deteriorated, and the country’s previously-strong reading culture stalled. Today, nearly 4 million children in Myanmar (or ⅓ of the children population) do not have access to education.
Unlike in the larger towns and cities, what passes for a school in the villages of Myanmar is often a makeshift structure with nothing more than a corrugated tin roof supported by wooden beams. However, if a village does have a school that conforms to the government’s specifications (i.e. precise classroom measurements (24’x30′), brick construction, and proper toilets along with housing accommodations for the teachers) the government will send a minimum of one and often two certified teachers PER grade to the school free of charge to the village. Each of these schools changes the future of whole communities.